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‘Pro-poor initiatives reflect govt’s resolve for sustainable poverty reduction’

Dawn 2018-04-15 06:26:54

    ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Finance says that significant spending under pro-poor sectors has clearly reflected the government’s resolve towards pursuing a sustainable poverty reduction strategy by allocating higher resources for social and poverty related sectors.

    The progress report of Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) released by the finance ministry said the overall PRSP expenditures have increased to 9.50 per cent of GDP in 2016-17, from 8.72pc in the previous year.

    PRSP current expenditures however declined to 5pc from 5.28 percentage of GDP.

    The pie chart clearly indicates that the government spent 3.12pc of GDP on human development which encompasses health, education and population planning. The share of safety nets sector, in terms of GDP, was recorded at 1.93pc in fiscal year 2017. Share of market access sector was recorded at 1.78pc of GDP followed by governance and rural development at 1.18pc and 0.99pc, respectively.

    The total PRSP expenditures increased by 12.36pc from Rs2.69 trillion in FY2016 to Rs3.02tr in FY2017.

    Federal expenditures increased by 11.03pc and provincial expenditures increased by 13.02pc. This was mainly due to promulgation of the 18th Amendment and the 7th NFC Award, under which the federal government has transferred bulk of subjects, as well as resources, to the provinces.

    According to figures, expenditures under market access and community services depicted a significant growth of 29.8pc in FY2017. This increase was witnessed on account of 32.41pc increase in expenditures on roads, highways and bridges and a noticeable growth of 13.34pc in expenditures on environment, water supply and sanitation.

    The expenditures in human development re­corded an encouraging trend. Education and health sectors exhibited substantial growth in expenditures of 5.41pc and 22.8pc respectively.

    Similarly, a significant growth of 86.7pc was observed in population planning during the comparison period.

    In rural development, positive growth of 8.11pc was observed in agriculture only, while on the other hand, land reclamation and rural development showed a negative trend in FY2017 when compared to the previous year.

    Education held the largest share of 23.09pc in total PRSP expenditures during 2016-17. It was followed by roads, highways and bridges, recording a share of 17.38pc.

    Law and order recorded a share of 11.77pc in total expenditures. Health and agriculture subsectors depicted an increase in their shares during the period under review.

    During FY2017, the total amount disbursed under different programmes, including budgetary and non-budgetary transfers, increased by 35pc from Rs1.8tr to Rs2.4tr.

    A total of 129,608 schools were functional in FY2017, against 130,621 in FY2016 registering a decrease of 0.78pc.

    During the same period, the number of primary functional schools decreased marginally by less than one percentage point whereas middle level functional schools witnessed a growth of 0.56pc.

    The priority areas for Pak­­istan under the Sus­tain­able Development Goals (SDGs) and PRSP are similar.

    These include eradication of poverty and hunger, sustainable and inclusive growth, quality education and health services for all, affordable and accessible energy for all, food and water security, resilient infrastructure, decent and productive employment, access to justice, and climate change.

    Maximum increase in PRSP expenditures was observed in Sindh with 27.49pc increase due to enhanced expenditures under population planning, rural development and social security and welfare, followed by KP, Balochistan and Punjab with 26.44pc, 13.93pc and 2.54pc increases, respectively.

    In Punjab, social security and welfare recorded the highest increase of 133.25pc. Environment, water supply and sanitation, health, population planning, justice administration and other sectors also observed significant increase in Punjab.

    In KP, subsidies showed a substantial increase of 854.49pc. All sub-sectors reflected a positive trend in the province except rural development, social security and welfare and natural calamities and disasters during the comparison period.

    Agriculture, social security, welfare, and law and order sectors recorded an overall positive growth.

    Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018